In a statement after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pointed out that Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia can strengthen their cooperation areas through the project. The UNSC held a meeting on GERD in New York on July 8 at the request of Egypt and Sudan.
Abiy Ahmed’s statement on his social media account after the UNSC meeting read: “The second filling of GERD will take a small amount of the Blue Nile’s water flow. Therefore, I assure you that Egypt and Ethiopia will not be harmed”. In addition, Abiy Ahmed emphasized that the Renaissance Dam will not have a significant impact on Sudan and will not adversely affect the lives of the Sudanese people.
In the special session on GERD, UNSC members called on Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to complete the ongoing negotiations under the umbrella of the African Union. In this context, the Security Council members recommended to the parties to reach a binding agreement that is well-intentioned, free from unilateral action, and meets the wishes of all three parties.
The foreign ministers of Egypt and Sudan, the two downstream countries of the Blue Nile, expressed their concerns about the GERD project at the UNSC meeting. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry emphasized that if an agreement is not reached, Egypt will protect all its rights until the end. Elsewhere, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi pointed out that Ethiopia’s transition to the second filling phase of the GERD project, without a binding agreement between the parties, would not comply with “good neighborly” principles.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Water Resources, Seleshi Bekele, also pointed out that the GERD project did not cause any harm to the downstream countries. He also stressed that the UNSC has no role in managing the conflict over GERD and has made no promises that Ethiopia will refrain from unilateralism until an agreement is concluded in the African Union-led negotiations.